The Keating Enigma
Gov. Frank Keating's recent Crisis article has provoked comment because of his claim that he was trashed by a letter put into play by the Oklahoma City vicar general. But the entire piece is worth a read for understanding Keating's brief but eventful presidency of the National Review Board.
He's a curiously constructed man. On one hand he has a truculent Catholic piety that comes across as boyish in its innocence. He displays a refreshingly uncomplicated disgust at the sins of priests and the attempts of their superiors to disguise them. Thus it's good to hear him say, "Los Angeles's Roger Cardinal Mahony said that my suggestion that some in the hierarchy behaved like the 'Cosa Nostra' was inappropriate and the 'last straw.' It was appropriate, and it was true." Amen, brother. But on the other hand Keating goes out of his way to praise fellow board members Bob Bennett and Leon Panetta for their eminence and achievements in the public sphere, using the standard political lexicon of commendation. This blindness (whether willed or not) to the counter-Catholic agenda of dissenting prominenten is a big part of the crisis Keating so earnestly deplores. Does he fail to see, or does he choose not to see, the obvious fact that Leon Panetta, e.g., has worked and worked hard to bring into being a society hostile to Catholic morality at almost every point?
Though a man of clear and passionate loyalties, Keating seems paradoxically to set himself up for betrayals (witness his admiration for Bishop Gregory, and his shock at Gregory's failure to act against his slanderer), and perhaps his high-voltage expressions of outrage are the cries of a man wounded by yet another knife in the back. His success in the FBI and in politics suggests he is no stranger to intrigue, but maybe he's out of his depth in trying to get straight answers from the masters of the expedient lie.
Check out his opening paragraph:
My son-in-law's question hit me hard. "Now, tell me: Why would I ever want to become a Catholic?" Ryan and my daughter, Carrie, have a daughter themselves -- our first grandchild -- one year old on the Fourth of July. Ryan continued: "If we had a boy instead of a girl, I would not let him be an altar boy." Another son-in-law of mine, Dan, was equally blunt. A non-Catholic, he simply declared, "I intended to raise our kids Catholic, but with this sex thing, everything is on hold." Kelly and Dan had their first child, a girl, this summer.
How sad. And how unforgivable. No, I'm not bitter at Ryan. He's protecting his child. And I'm not disappointed with Dan. My proselytizing will have to wait. But I am bitter at the Catholic Church -- my Church -- for having created a culture that made such comments possible. It's simply incredible that this edifice of traditional morality could have looked evil in the face and turned away.
Right on target. But how could the author of these lines expect to find an ally in the man whose response to the crisis was to exclaim, "We have all been enlightened"?
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Posted by: -
Oct. 06, 2003 11:25 PM ET USA
Bennet and Panetta, a Clintonista junta in charge of the Church! We should have Luther as pope... At least he was pretty orthodox compared the these guys. Our bishops are Clintonians at heart.
Posted by: Pseudodionysius -
Oct. 04, 2003 11:27 PM ET USA
When a Catholic theist uses the word "enlightened" I always think of Dostoevsky, and his view of "Enlightenment" as a prelude to Marxist hegemony that rode across Russia. Demons. In the distorted countenances and voices of the characters in the book.
Posted by: -
Oct. 04, 2003 9:05 PM ET USA
Governor Keating did a great job as our governor for two terms and was always straight-shooting--even when, at times, it would have been better to be silent. But you never wondered where he stood. So, it was unsurprising that he would not do well with bishops who have made their careers through obfuscation and deceit. That said, while Keating is a solid Catholic, theology is not his strong suit. It's too bad he didn't think to use that lack of understanding as a common ground with our bishops.
Posted by: Pseudodionysius -
Oct. 04, 2003 12:34 PM ET USA
Governor Keating, When the Face of Christ becomes grossly disfigured, and evil cannot be named for what is so clearly is, the Lord casts his net deep, as a fisher of men, and calls some who are truly unworthy, to join the fray. Christs face is disfigured and disgraced by the scandal. For every one that runs, 10 are called. You can run or you can fight. But you cannot hide. His wounds cry out.